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Day 1 - need to believe...despite lingering doubts

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by nikkifilmmakermom, May 30, 2013.

  1. nikkifilmmakermom

    nikkifilmmakermom New Member

    Hi - I have had lower back pain for about three years. I was diagnosed with a stage 1-2 spondilolythesis. I have had this condition (or at least some version of it) since I was about 10 years old....so that's 34 years. But it didn't bother me for many years. Since it started to hurt, I have spent over $10,000 on chiropractors, physical therapists, acupuncture...etc...etc. I read most of Healing Back Pain about 2 years ago but didn't believe it. Finally, after talking to several people who've been helped by Dr. Sarno, I am picking it up again and taking it seriously. However, I'm still having some lingering doubts and trouble accepting that my structural diagnosis isn't at least partially responsible for the pain I have. But I'm working on it. A couple of the lingering doubts are: 1) when I do strenuous physical things like lift a heavy chair - I notice my back is more sore the next day. 2) I can't imagine that the spondy wouldn't cause pain and I'm afraid of worsening the injury. I've stopped doing physical things I love to do like jog and yoga for fear of injuring myself further. I really want to do these things again.

    My friend saw Dr. Sarno and gave me the hand out that he gave to her. I've been trying to read it everyday.

    Since picking up Dr. Sarno's work again, I have started to really admit to myself that anger is a big problem for me. It's something that plagues me on a nearly daily basis. I'm starting to go through the process of unearthing all the things I'm angry about. However, my back pain hasn't subsided YET!
    I also just had a new baby so we're under a lot of stress!

    I saw the Dr. at NYU who took over for Dr. Sarno, but even he made me angry. So I don't feel like going to listen to him lecture to me for many hours. I would rather get the DVD's of Dr. Sarno.

    Anyone out there have a spondy who this has worked for? Any suggestions on how to eradicate my doubts.
    Thank you,
  2. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Nikki, if you want to look deeper into the repressed emotions, like anger, behind your TMS pain, you might want to work the 37-day Structured Education Program (SEP) available on the TMS Wiki: http://www.tmswiki.org/ppd/The_Tension_Myositis_Syndrome_Wiki

    Likewise, if you'd like to drop in and chat with other TMSers in a moderated online support forum, visit this link on Saturdays: http://www.tmswiki.org/chat/

    Interacting with others who have TMS pain symptoms similar to your own broadens your perspective on your own condition. Many find that interacting with other people with TMS clears up their symptoms just like journaling, meditation or talk therapy.
  3. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    Hi Nikki
    Welcome to the forum. I don't know of any guaranteed ways to eliminate doubt but what is most helpful for me is to recognize and accept the doubts that I have. I remind myself that I've been bombarded with "physical" explanations for every ache, pain, and twinge for decades, undoing all that training is going to take time. As my doctor likes to remind me when my symptoms are flaring, your symptoms didn't develop overnight, they're most likely not going to leave that way either. I would suspect this will likely be true for you as well.

    Your condition has been part of your existence for a long time, as unpleasant as it might be to think of it in this way, up to this point it's been part of your identity. It's familiar, it's part of who you are and you're comfortable with it, changing your thoughts about it will take time and patience. Bruce gave you some excellent suggestions to help change those thoughts. I would like to add a suggestion that you may want to watch the interview Forest did with Nicole Sachs, I believe you can find it in the general discussion forum. Nicole talks about rage and parenting, which might help with your unearthing process.

    If you don't mind my asking, what did the NYU doctor do to cause you such anger that you'd rather continue with your symptoms than sit through the lectures to see if they help?
  4. yb44

    yb44 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I second the suggestion. I may be mistaken but I think Nicole had been diagnosed with spondilolythesis. The link is here:

    You say one of your doubts is about doing something strenuous and feeling pain. Well if we use muscles that we haven't used for a while or exert ourselves when we generally avoid physical activity, we can feel a bit sore but this sort of pain goes away in a day or so. If it carries on, we start to think, uh oh, must have damaged something. We tense up, worry and the pain cycle begins. For example I went out to do some gardening. I have a habit of ruminating when I am gardening and this day was no exception. I really exerted myself and the next day my upper back and shoulders felt really sore and I also noticed some pain lower down. The soreness wore off by the third day but the other pain carried on. The more it carried on, the more I dwelled on it and worried about it. Before long I was totally incapacitated with sciatica. In retrospect I see that I was carrying a lot of anger while digging the garden, thinking about a big fight that I had had with some family members. I imagine I couldn't face my true feelings about these people -think murderous rage. My mind saw a great opportunity and took it, promptly re-directing all that murderous rage and subsequent guilt to my sciatic nerve.

    As for your second doubt about returning to the physical activities you enjoy, it is only when you show your mind that you can engage in these activities without fear that you will not end up in pain. You don't have to go at these activities with a vengeance, like me furiously digging my garden. Just take it slowly and build up gradually. In this thread, Dr Alexander talks about exercise in relation to fibromyalgia but mentions it is applicable to other forms of pain too.

    Welcome to the forum. Glad you decided to give Sarno another go.
  5. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    On page 74 of the Mindbody Prescription, Dr. Sarno writes, "This is a dramatic-looking abnormality in which a lumbar vertebra has moved out of line with the one below, usually forward. Cases range from mild to severe. The cause of the condition is mysterious, but in my experience the disorder is painless...I have yet to see someone with spondylolisthesis who did not have TMS."

    You may also find Salamander's story helpful. He was diagnosed with spondylolisthesis and recovered using the TMS approach.

    You mentioned you have the handout from Sarno. Have you read any of his books yet? If not they are a great place to start.

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